Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Top 10 Closers 2007

1. J.J. Putz
6-1/82/1.38/0.70, 40 saves
The six wins really puts Putz (stutter much?) in first. Don't get caught up in the rankings for the closers, because really any of the closers in the top ten would have done you just fine. Hate to shortchange Putz, but it's something to chew on, perhaps. You're really going after saves here, and 40 from Putz was good. Frankly, I would've taken a Tagamet and Todd Jones's 38 saves.

2. Takashi Saito
2-1/78/1.40/0.72, 39 saves
Looks like Broxton didn't take over this year as every expert predicted. There's something to not being able to read what the media is writing. Other than the four less wins, Saito was just as good as Putz.

3. Joe Nathan
4-2/77/1.88/1.02, 37 saves
He might have the absolutely lamest name. His stuff is nasty, yet his name is Joe Nathan? From now on, Joe Nathan will be known as Taipei Slinklo. It is significant only in its randomness. But for someone who is as vanilla as Joe Nathan, he needs some random ethnicity. "Hey, Taipei Slinklo, you gonna save this game?" "Pho sho!" What, Taipei is a ridiculous name? And Boof isn't?

4. Jonathan Papelbon
1-3/84/1.85/0.77, 37 saves
The Pinero experiment lasted until about third inning of the first intrasquad game. Timlin was the closer for about as long as it takes a Yankee fan to get beat up in the Cask. The Sox didn't even know what they had in Okajima, so they reluctantly handed the ball back to Papelbon. Um, it worked out okay. I would love for nothing else but to see Papelbon fail just so he stops dancing. Unfortunately, I don't think it's going to happen any time soon. Then again, with closers, you never know. *Fingers crossed*

5. Francisco Rodriguez, 40 saves
Any day now Scot Shields is going to take over, right? No, maybe not. K-Rod's mechanics make scouts squirm, yet he's still right here, year after year. As Rex Hudler says, "K-Rod's born for the job!" Okay, maybe Hud didn't say exactly that, but something equally inane was said. Smoke another doobie, Hud!

6. Jose Valverde
1-4/78/2.66/1.12, 47 saves
Frankly, he's number one in my mind. I <3 Valverde. You draft closers for saves and no one gave you more than Valverde. Were they all pretty? Yup, they actually were. The blown saves weren't. He gave up seven of his season's 19 earned runs in two appearances. Seeing one of these games and knowing how he was prone to breakdown in previous seasons, I traded him on June 1st for a seemingly powerless, suddenly-over-the-hill Abreu. I assumed Valverde would breakdown and Abreu would return to past glory. The trade almost didn't go through because everyone (except Abreu's owner) felt the same way as me. Abreu ended up giving me 89/14/78/16/.303 in 104 games. Meanwhile, Valverde pitched great in the 2nd half notching 28 saves. Because the way saves bunched up in this league, I would've wrapped up the league with two weeks to play if I had kept Valverde over Abreu. In the end, I still won the league on the last day of the season, but I had to scramble for saves for three months straight (even signing Valverde's backup, Tony Pena, at one point). As William Goldman says, "No one knows anything."

7. Bobby Jenks
3-5/56/2.77/0.89, 40 saves
Two body types for pitchers, tall and slender and tall and fat. The tall and fat ones are on everyone's list to get injured, while the tall and slender ones are the ones that do get injured. The tall and fat ones end up pitching until they are forty-five. Just sayin'. Probably took some Jenks-sized balls to draft him, but if you did, good for you. Why don't you shine your balls and put them on your mantle? Now go get your shinebox!

8. Francisco Cordero
0-4/86/2.98/1.11, 44 saves
Cordero lost his job in Texas in '06. Makes me think of Dr. Dre's The Watcher, "You'd probably move to a new house on a new hill..." Weird how saves bounce around, isn't it? Another reason why you don't draft closers too high. Cordero is actually artificially low in these rankings because he went 0-4. You drafted him for saves, not wins. Stop bitchin', you made out a'ight. Sorry, feeling gangsta.

9. Trevor Hoffman
4-5/44/2.98/1.12, 42 saves
Still collecting saves, still entering the game to an old-ass song. Old is as old does. As long as he can still throw a changeup that is somehow slower than his fastball, he'll be all right. His numbers would look even better if it weren't for the three runs he gave up in a third of an inning in the final game of the season.

10. Billy Wagner
2-2/80/2.63/1.13, 34 saves
By September, he looked gray and lifeless like a dirty water hot dog. Being the proud of Wagner on two different teams, I wanted Heilman to take over. Not because I had Heilman, but simply so Wagner would stop giving up runs. He was making Alfredo Amezaga look like an Alfredo Griffin circa 1979 when he co-won the AL ROY with John Castino. Since this will be the third ever mention of John Castino on the internet, maybe he can write in when he Google stalks himself. Hope your back's feeling better!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Top 10 Starters 2007

1. Jake Peavy
Your pitching staff was in pretty good shape if Peavy was your number one starter as long as your number two starter wasn't Kip Wells. Leading the majors in strikeouts (though Bedard might have made a claim for that if he was healthy at the end of the year), leading the majors in ERA and WHIP for starters, finishing 2nd in wins and he singlehandedly put out the California fires. Okay, I made the last one up, but it wouldn't have been surprising. The only thing that hurt Peavy was out of his control, a haiku for Mr. Peavy:

With a cutoff man
Barrett throws out baserunners
Friends with Zambrano

2. C.C. Sabathia
After posting solid numbers in '06, Sabathia really came into his own this year. See, who says a plus-size model can't be sexy? He was the benefit of a solid defense behind him and an even better offense supporting him. By the postseason, he began to wane as his innings were nearly as high as his cholesterol. Hopefully this won't affect him next year.

3. Johan Santana
An off year for Santana and he still comes in at number three. If not for the one game playoff between the Padres and Rockies, he would've led the majors in strikeouts. It's a shame that we've come to expect the spectacular because the only thing Santana failed to do this year was drive in runs in games he pitched. With four or five more wins, he'd be in the discussion for Cy Young. Speaking of which...

4. Josh Beckett
They haven't given him the award yet, but he'll win it. The voters love wins, as if that's more of indication of how someone pitched than their ERA or their WHIP. Not that Beckett was a slouch in those categories either, so it's hard to fault him winning the Cy Young. Where you drafted Beckett as compared to Santana, you got plenty of value. And, for what it's worth, I like his taste in random country singers. He's the red state Jeter.

5. Brandon Webb
Not giving up a run for a month will usually get you on a list of the best pitchers. He was phenomenal for stretches, but merely average other times of the year. Yet, it's hard to fault him with these final numbers. BUT, if we do want to find fault, his walks were up, which accounts for his WHIP jumping from 1.13 in '06. Nevertheless, he registered nearly 200 strikeouts and came in 2nd to Peavy for NL-only pitchers. Yet, his strikeouts were down from last year even though he pitched more innings. Okay, I'll leave Webb alone. But, if you can't tell, I'm not completely sold on him.

6. John Lackey
Take out two games from Lackey's season and he has a 19-7 record and a 2.77 ERA. Not any two games, obviously. Just the two games played against Boston (both games at Fenway). The two games where he was 0-2 with an 8.38 ERA. Luckily, he calls the AL West home, a division with three pitcher's parks and the Marlon Byrd-led Texas Rangers.

7. Aaron Harang
Harang was nothing spectacular this year. He only put up the exact same numbers that we've come to expect from him. Numbers that rival the best in the game. Then again, he doesn't get drafted until the ninth round in a ML universe, so something must be wrong, right? Wrong. Perhaps it's his team, the media market he plays in or lack of wins, but for whatever reason, he's perpetually under the radar. I have a feeling the same people trumpeting Blyleven's Hall of Fame candidacy will have a new poster boy in fifteen years.

8. Erik Bedard
What kind of name is Bedard? French? Is he from Louisiana? Anyone ever hear him talk? Anyone care? I'm not sure Orioles' fans care. Ladies and gentlemen, your American League Harang. Bedard was had for a steal. Probably falling to the twelfth round in a ML universe. As mentioned above, he was headed for the majors strikeout title when a late season injury derailed him, but his season was still great. On a better team, he wins twenty easily.

9. Dan Haren
Another reason not to draft a ton of pitchers early on. In a ML universe, Haren probably was available into the tenth round. He blew away his previous career high in strikeouts, dropped his ERA by a full point and didn't allow more than five runs in any start all season.

10. Javier Vazquez
Yet another steal, falling to the seventeenth round in many ML universe drafts. And, FINALLY, living up to the hype of his days in Montreal. It's been a long time coming, hasn't it? Not to mention it was done on the crappy White Sox. Some things even Ozzie Guillen can't screw up.

There's so many more pitchers to talk about it will have to wait for another column.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Top 10 Catchers 2007

1. Jorge Posada
At 36, easily his best year since 2003. If you saw this year coming, kudos to you. Maybe you should start your own blog called, "I Lied About Knowing How Well Posada Was Going To Do This Year." Sixty points above his career average spells one thing: F-L-U-K-E. But if you had Posada, you got tremendous value from someone you thought you might have to replace at some point. This would've been my thinking right after the draft, "Maybe I'll drop Posada and take a chance on Iannetta." Then after Posada started well, "I guess I can give Posada a month." Then when he continued to produce, "Well, I'll hold onto him for a little bit longer. Worse case scenario is I'll pick up Torrealba." Chances are you never picked up Torrealba. BTW, as you'll see, the top catcher this year has the distinction of being nothing more than the cream of the crap.

2. Victor Martinez
(See Top Ten 1st Basemen, or don't. I'll be fine.)

3. Russell Martin
A true throwback to the bygone days of Benito Santiago and vintage Kendall. (I guarantee no one will ever Google "vintage Kendall" so I did. Results are for an old bottle of crappy wine.) Martin faded a bit as the season wore on with only 5 steals post All-Star break. No matter, you got very good value from Martin for where you had to draft him. But if you're drafting a catcher needing 20+ steals, you're drafting incorrectly. More than likely Martin's steals were icing.

4. Brian McCann
Guys and doll faces, this is your number #4 catcher (#2 in NL-only). What a crappy position. Isn't it clear why everyone says ad infinitum not to draft a catcher too high? Position scarcity-schmarcity. You're better off waiting to the late rounds. As for McCann, he had a couple of play-through-it injuries this year, which drained him of his power during the middle of the year. But catchers are always dinged up, so it's hardly an excuse.

5. Bengie Molina
The number #5 catcher in all of baseball didn't break 40 runs. This is pathetic. I've got an idea. How about steroids are allowed for anyone who is going to play 120 games or more at catcher? It's such a tough position, they obviously need a little help. It could also add a bit of strategy with the management of a club deciding who they want to put on steroids, "Let's roll the dice and let Jason Bay catch this year." Also, it could extend more careers than the DH. I can see it now, "Batting fourth and catching, Barry Bonds."

6. Joe Mauer
Wow, what a year! Aren't you glad you drafted him with your third round pick? Write this down above your computer, "Don't draft a catcher before the 12th round."(Add an exclamation point if you need to shout at yourself to listen.) The scary thing is, you know Mauer has no power. These numbers are more or less what you should be expecting. Maybe 20 points higher in average, but big whoop.

7. Kenji Johjima
Do you think Kenji gets more press back home because he plays with Ichiro Suzuki? Or do you think he only gets press of an afterthought nature? Such as this being the coverage in The Japanese Rising Moon paper, "The great Ichiro Suzuki ground out to evil Howie Kendrick in two trips to bat, then he sacrifice himself for team and take fastball off elbow pad. In related news, Kenji Johjima hit home run."

8. Jason Varitek
In the Year of Crappy Catchers, I'm kinda surprised Varitek didn't finish a bit higher on this list. His average was the killer here. His post All-Star break average was .225. Yeah, that sucks.

9. Ivan Rodriquez
Has there ever been anyone skinnier whose nickname implies a fatty? Obviously people started calling him Pudge before steroids testing, but now whenever someone calls him Pudge tell me you don't find it a little baffling. Sit someone in front of the TV who has never seen Rodriguez and tell them he's called Pudge. Immediately they wonder if it's meant sarcastically. Now, I think it might be. Anyway, his numbers are neither here nor there. He ain't winning leagues for you, that is fo' sho.

10. Ronny Paulino
The only top ten list Paulino should be on is, "Top Ten Players the Average Fan Does Not Know." Actually, I could have probably put a dozen other names next to Paulino's stats and no one would've known the difference. And if you're telling me you would have known had I, say, put Pierzynski's name there, you should go join the "I Knew How Well Posada Was Going To Do" liar's blog.

As for the rest of the catchers, more crap.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Top 10 Outfielders 2007

1. Matt Holliday
I had him on every team. I'm not prescient. Not Nostradamus. Not even Ms. Cleo. Frankly, I'm more surprised Schwarzenegger is the governor of California than I am about Holliday's season. Ten years ago, you wouldn't have believed Schwarzenegger PLAYING the role of Governor. You would have said, "I liked the movie's action effects, but Schwarzenegger playing the Governor was completely unbelievable. Eastwood I believe, Schwarzenegger I ain't buying." Anyway, Holliday was 27 and playing in Coors. Of course he was going to have a good year. I'll cover next year in a future blog, but he will be overpriced next year. As someone who watched 500 of his almost 700 at-bats, he swings and misses a lot and doesn't walk enough. You heard it here first. You'll hear more in a future blog; I promise.

2. Magglio Ordonez
Take a second and look at his average again. Um, WTF?! He never hit higher than .320 before. And that was 5 years ago. When you top your career high in average by forty points at age 33, you're having one of those seasons where everything hit found a hole. I don't like the Detroit sportscasters and dislike the city even more, so I didn't watch a whole lot of Mags' season, but I guarantee he was lucky. You just don't hit 50 points above your career average without some luck. It's just not possible. Let's move on before my head explodes.

3. Ichiro Suzuki
I contemplated writing just Ichiro for his name, but why should I? Why does he get to go by only Ichiro? How does he even get away with putting only Ichiro on his jersey? Why hasn't more been made of this? Can you picture the brouhaha (That's right, I used the word brouhaha. Deal with it.) if Manny showed up at a game sporting a jersey that said Manny on the back? How about Pedro? Or just Torii? What happens if another Ichiro is picked up by Seattle? Does he start going by Ichiro S. or does one have only his last name put on his jersey and Ichiro keeps his first (which I think is his last name in Japan or something like that)? How does MLB allow this? Onto his season, Ichiro Suzuki hits for a high average every year, no surprise here. At some point, Ichiro Suzuki is not going to hit for that great of an average and I don't want to be the last person standing on that Kotaka when it starts sinking, if you catch my drift.

4. Eric Byrnes
Okay, sidenote: About three years ago, I pitched around Hollywood a baseball reality show, the theme of these meetings all came to the same conclusion. They liked the idea, but they needed a "name" attached. Someone that would generate interest in the baseball world, but, even more so, THEY needed someone that meant something to the average fan. We went after Steinbrenner. We got as far as his personal driver. That's right, I have a connection to Steinbrenner's driver! Anyway, since I'm writing this you can probably figure out, Steinbrenner passed. We couldn't get any "name" interested. The one "name" we could get... Wait, for it... A fourth outfielder on the Oakland A's, the one and only, Eric Byrnes. This time we passed. Eric Byrnes meant bupkus. Now he means, a 20/50 season. I'm happy for him. I'd still rather have Steinbrenner.

5. Carlos Lee
I took thirteen years of Spanish and I can say two phrases, "Mi mama cocina en el bano." And, "¡El Caballo!" You had to draft the horse pretty high so you probably were hoping for more, but he did what he could. Did the horse lose your season for you? Neigh.

6. Carl Crawford
Dude, eleven homers really isn't gonna cut it from a first round outfielder. Fifty steals or not. I'm sorry. Can we get twenty homers one of these years? Please. Stop teasing. It's not nice. And, I'll tell you what, you need to draft so home run heavy later in the draft to make up for 11 from your first outfielder, that you're really not happy with Carl right now, are you? Of course you're not. Pain felt.

7. Curtis Granderson
That Curtis came in seventh in a deep position makes me think I don't know a damn thing about FLB. I wouldn't have picked up Granderson if he were on waivers. No joke. He should be an eight hole hitter on an NL team. Seriously, isn't Granderson a middle class man's Endy Chavez? His numbers are a testament as much to his natural skills as they are to Leyland's foolhardy stubbornness in keeping Grandy a leadoff hitter.

8. Vladimir Guerrero
"From his head to his toes, that's how Vladdy goes," says Rex Hudler 81 games a year. Sigh. At least it's not Don Sutton. Matt Chico isn't good, Sutton, I don't care how many times you say it. Vlad looked like a surefire MVP for the first two months of the season. Then the tennis balls came off his walker and the opposing teams realized they should try challenging Kotchman.

9. Carlos Beltran
You know someone that goes from very hot to very cold? Beltran, the Latin Jason Bay. Also, his resemblance to Ricky from My So Called Life, while covered many times before now, is uncanny and, frankly, distracting. I half expect him to hit a home run then celebrate by giving Delgado an open mouth kiss. All this aside, Beltran didn't give you the numbers you might have hoped for when you drafted him in the second round, but he did give you exactly what you should have expected. His numbers are above-average, but not spectacular, year in and year out. Stop expecting more and you'll no longer be disappointed. Now go kiss Delgado!

10. Nick Markakis
Here you got some really nice value for where you had to draft him. In a league of mine, when Markakis started slow, I tried to pry him away from his owner. Didn't happen. You know who I like a lot for next year... The Greek God of Roto! Opa! But that will wait for another column.

With outfield being such a deep position, there's so many more to talk about from 11-20 that it might need its own column. For now, know that: Grady (11) wasn't in the top ten, Abreu (12) wasn't that bad from June on, Torii (13) cooled off in a major way after July, Dunn (14) didn't have that many 0 for 20 stretches, Rios (15) is set to catapult into the top ten, Soriano (16) deserves his own column for how far he fell short of expectations, Rowand (17) um, it's Aaron Rowand, he had a good year, you got lucky, Berkman (18) was covered in the 1st base column, B.J. Upton (19) also covered previously, and then, the one and only, Corey Hart (20). How can Corey Hart not have his own column? The guy has the same name as the guy who's married to Pink!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Top 10 3rd Basemen 2007

1. Alex Rodriguez
The only sign that he was human this year is when he was caught in a strip club. The effortlessness in which he plays the game makes it extremely effortful (I made up that word) to like him, but if you had him on your team you probably were able to show some enthusiasm. He will probably go down in the history as the only number one in his sport that no one really loves. People loved Jordan, Tiger Woods, Pele, etc. With Arod, I feel people don't show him the love that his skills definitely deserve. Perhaps it is his effortlessness or maybe the New York media. Oh, and the other thing surprising about Arod is his heritage. He's about as Latin as Taco Bell.

2. David Wright
These top two weren't that close to the rest of the field for 3rd base and this year 3rd base was a pretty loaded position. What I love is how the New York media terrorizes Arod, but can't find any fault with Wright. Sure, he's a great bats-smith, always hustles with his natural speed, power, next door neighbor good-looking... Darn, now I wanna marry him, too. Loved to see what Wright could do playing in Citizen's Bank. Actually, I don't because I hate Wright. Seems a bit too perfect. Like O.J. in the 70s.

3. Chipper Jones
And he missed some time. (Of course, he did. He always misses time.) I usually don't draft Chipper. Nothing personal, although Chipper does strike me as a racist. Usually I'm all for drafting people who are injury-prone because if you fill in for them properly you can actually do quite well. The thing with Chipper is he's not injury-prone as much as he is always playing hurt. He's the kind of player that sits for a day or two so you take him out then he plays. By the time you get him back in there, he's hurt again. And the cycle continues. This year, injuries or not, Chipper gave you more than value.

4. Miguel Cabrera
If you take Pujols, subtract sixteen years and add eighty pounds, you've got Cabrera. He could weigh three hundred and twenty pounds and still hit .320 and thirty homers and he might just weigh that by this time next year. The Latin Prince Fielder. At least with the extra poundage, it now makes sense why he has absolutely no speed.

5. Ryan Braun
To the alien that just landed from another planet, "He might be fifth but this is the absolute best player on this list because you got him for nothing." In one league where I picked him up off waivers as soon as he was called up, guess what? I won. In another league where I drafted him but dropped him when he didn't get the immediate call-up from the minors, I finished third. Had I not dropped him, I would have won. The owner that did pick him up ended up in fourth, they would've been in eighth. Know what I really like about him? He goes to the opposite field. Know what I don't like about him? He struggles a bit against righties. Um, this might be a problem.

6. Mike Lowell
Wow, Julio Lugo, Coco or Varitek couldn't drive in poor Mike Lowell more than 79 times? Here's another guy that was on a lot of winning teams. He went from an afterthought to .324 and 120 RBIs. He was slotted into more corner positions and got more hits against a wall than a twenty dollar whore. This was a career year at... Wait, how can he be 33 years old? He looks older than my father and he's supposedly younger than me. Can we just make it a law to add seven years to everyone's age that was born outside the U.S.? (Lowell is from Puerto Rico.) Like if you moved to another country you wouldn't go by whatever age you could pass for. BTW, I'm twenty-two in the Dominican Republic.

7. B.J. Upton
(See Top 10 2nd Basemen for why guys love them a B.J.)

8. Garrett Atkins
Okay, you could have done better with your fourth round selection than G.A. (apologies to the trademark Garrett Anderson has on those initials). But you didn't lose your league because of Atkins (apologies to the Atkins Diet people). Sure, he started slow. Yes, he could have topped thirty homers and hit for a slightly higher average. Okay, Garrett (apologies to Garrett Morris and Leif Garrett) didn't win you any leagues either. But the only thing you can get down on him for is coming in no higher than second in a Google search of any variation of his name. He will forever be known Garrett Atkins, anything shorter is someone else.

9. Adrian Beltre
In a mixed league, you didn't even draft him so "You're welcome." In an AL-only league, you didn't want to draft him and he was the fourth best AL 3rd baseman so "You're very welcome." With skills coming out of elementary school, so much should have come from Beltre yet he will be forgotten in less than seven years by everyone except possibly family members. Perhaps we should start a Remember Adrian Beltre? website now before he fades from memory. Someone registers and I'll be your first supporter. As long as I don't have to give my email address.

10. Aramis Ramirez
What's that funky smell? It's Aramis! Injuries weren't too kind to Aramis this year and who knows how long he might have been playing hurt, but he still got 500 at-bats. Geez, his stats remind me of the Kaiser Chief song, "Everything Is Average Nowadays." If Derrek Lee and him would have had their normally productive years, the Cubs would've ran away with the division.

Just out of the top ten, Chone Figgins (41 steals in part-time action!) could have helped, Ryan Zimmerman (really average in full-time action!) never took the next step so many predicted, Alex Gordon (struggled mightily for three months!) is not winning the ROY and his teammate, Mark Teahen (7 home runs!) sucked, but not as bad as Aubrey Huff. But, then again, no one is really ever as bad as Aubrey Huff.

Top 10 Shortstops 2007

1. Hanley Ramirez
If it wasn't for Arod's insane year, everyone would be talking about the year Hanley Ramirez had. Oh, and you didn't have to draft him in the 1st round. Look at those numbers again. One homer off a 30/50 season? That's insane. Experts have been calling for a 30/50 season from Carl Crawford for the last two years. And he's an outfielder! A 29/50 season from a shortstop? I have a friend who drafted Michael Young right before Hanley went off the board. His emails went something like this, "Michael Young is on pace for a 5/5 season and it's f**cking July?! Why didn't I draft Hanley?" Not to mention, Hanley may be Latin but he doesn't look eight years older than he's listed at. I'm looking at you Pujols, David Ortiz and Kim Kardashian. C'mon, she's 27? She looks like she's in her thirties. Though she's one of those that will look exactly the same age for fifteen years then, suddenly, she'll look her age and it will be very disconcerting. Think Suzanne Somers.

2. Jimmy Rollins
Let's look at what he has going for him -- speed and enough power for Citizen's Bank, batting in front of Utes and Howard, an ego the size of a Cheesecake Factory entree, wanting to prove that the media is wrong by turning the best SS award automatically over to Reyes, no longer sporting braids and he gets about 1,000 at-bats a year. What's not to like? This might be his peak and everyone calls him J-Rol. Can we call a moratorium on shortening names like this? It feels so forced and arbitrary. Man-Ram was cute, I wish sportscasters would shorten Felix Hernandez to F-Her, Arod is fitting, but when is enough enough? Cole Hamels to C-Ham? Justin Morneau to Just-Morn? Carlos Marmol to Car-Ma? Actually, I like Car-Ma and I predict at some point soon Car-Ma will catch up to Ryan Dempster.

3. Jose Reyes
Disclaimer: I don't like the Mets, but I love to watch Reyes play. Makes things difficult when you're hoping for him to score yet you don't want anyone on the team to get an RBI. "C'mon, double play from Wright!"

4. Troy Tulowitzki
(I had to look up how to spell his last name, but didn't need to look up Kardashian. Hmm...) Let's not forget, he started awful. Dreadful. People were talking about bringing back "Deer Meat" Barmes. Yet, he still finished with great numbers. You probably drafted him so low(itzki) that rather than worry about the slow(itzki) start, you dropped him. Hopefully to pick him up again. Assuming you didn't pay too(lowitzki) much for him, you got value. This might be the last year that you'll be able to get him so low(itzki). (Sorry if that last paragraph was as confusing to read as it was to write. Sometimes things don't work, but you get so caught up in them you continue to force a round peg into a square hole.)

5. Carlos Guillen
(See Top Ten 1st Basemen) Maybe C-Guile? "C-Guile is sneaky fast!"

6. Derek Jeter
If only you had drafted him in the third round of your Fantasy Shortstops Who Date Hot Girls League. Sorry no Jessica Alba category in most leagues, though his conquests must play some sort of role in where he is drafted every year. Cause the numbers are, well, okay. Eighth round okay. Enough has been written about Jeter, moving on...

7. Orlando Cabrera
Honestly, I didn't realize his numbers were so mediocre. See, I live in So-Cal and to watch a City of Anaheim 'Burb of Los Angeles Angels game, you would think Cabrera had an MVP season. Rex Hudler loves him some Cabrera. Here's hoping Hud was in your league and took him before you. Nah, that's just backlash. He had a decent season for an MI spot.

8. Michael Young
Michael "I should've taken Hanley!" Young had a typical year for Julio Lugo. Not sure how you bat second or third on the Rangers and only score 80 runs. Offensive ballpark and he had over 200 hits. How do you do that? Oh, that's right Sammy Sosa, Brad Wilkerson, Jason Botts, Marlon Byrd were batting behind him. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2007 Texas Rangers!

9. Edgar Renteria
Okay, the RBIs were low, but you didn't have to pay much to get these numbers. Not to mention, he was injured for about two months so if you slotted in someone else while he was DL-ed, you padded the above stats. But praising Renteria is like praising Vanilla Ice Cream. You know what you're getting.

10. J.J. Hardy
Personally, I like his numbers better than Michael "I should've taken Hanley!" Young. His .277 wasn't crippling, his 26 homers were excellent for SS and his RBIs and runs weren't bad at all. Not to mention, you had to draft Michael "I should've taken Hanley!" Young about twenty rounds earlier. I wouldn't go as far to say J.J. was dy-no-mite, but you could've done worse. Speaking of which...

Tejada had his consecutive game streak broken and you wasted a really high pick and Furcal absolutely killed teams this year. Furcal actually had a bad year for Julio Lugo.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Top 10 2nd Basemen 2007

1. Brandon Phillips
Not since Soriano have we seen this power and speed combo from 2nd. For the price you probably paid for Phillips, this guy single-handedly won leagues or, at the least, kept owners right in the mix. I know in one of my leagues the owner who had Phillips easily finished five places above where he should have. Then again, he should have finished last, so it's a small consolation. Imagine if the Indians hadn't given up on him -- Asdrubal who?

2. Chase Utley
And he missed a month. Chances are you picked up someone who was able to add to the above stats. For instance, I picked up Iguchi when the Phillies traded for him, so I had .305/18/3/10/5 for 29 games. Respectable numbers to add to Utley's final totals. For where you had to draft Utely, he didn't disappoint. What I really like about Utely is his intensity. You never see him dog it up the first base line. If you're thinking that doesn't show up in the final stat line, you're mistaken. Okay, praises sung...

3. Brian Roberts
You're looking at a career year in steals, a total aberration for runs, and a bit low on the home run front. Looking closer: how can a guy steal fifty bases, bat lead-off and barely crack 100 runs? Pretty tough luck there. I usually stay away from Roberts because he's a total roll of the die. One year he steals like crazy, one year he cracks a bunch of homers, another year he's a force in average, another year he breaks his arm in seventeen places. If you gambled on him giving you steals this year, you did well.

4. BJ Upton
Another difference maker. Chances are you drafted (or picked off waivers) Upton at a extremely low price. Also, with his injury, you probably had someone else culling stats at his position while he was on your DL. So his position's numbers should be even better. I don't fully trust him for next year, but we'll save that for a future blog.

5. Robinson Cano
I have to admit. His year surprised me. I thought he might be lying in the dumpster by the All-Star Break because Yankee fans would be so disappointed with him. But Torre stuck with him through the first half swoon, and he turned it around. But the real question is, did you stick with him? I don't think I would have, probably would have traded him for thirty cents on the dollar.

6. Placido Polanco
Everyone know what being yawnstipated is? It's when you have to yawn, but can't. Basically, you're constipated with your yawning. Polanco yawnstipates me. You want to yawn at his numbers, but he manages to do just enough so you can't yawn. The .341 is the main reason for the yawnstipation. Usually a high average and not much else is a very good yawnstipater.

7. Dan Uggla
How does a 2nd basemen that hits 31 homers end up so low on the list? Batting .245 will do it. This is the first guy on the list that was actually a negative in any category. I don't like negatives in a category. That low of an average can be really difficult to correct with other hitters. Uggla's other numbers are buoyant; his average is an anchor. Anchors stop fun.

8. Ian Kinsler
I liked Kinsler in the beginning of the year. Know what? I still like him. He struggled mightily for about two months after a torrid start, then he was hurt for over a month. If you substituted in someone for when he was struggling and when he was on the DL, you had a tremendous two months from him. He was easily top 3 at 2nd base when he was playing good.

9. Jeff Kent
Again, if you took him out when he was hurt or playing hurt, Kent had a decent enough year. I like his numbers in retrospect more than Uggla. (Don't like negatives in a category.) You didn't get anything more than you should expect from him at this stage in his career, but you didn't get less from him either, which helps.

10. Aaron Hill
And I like his numbers better than Uggla's, as well. (Still don't like negatives in a category. You heard that already? Yeah, you probably did.) Across the board, Hill gave you a little bit of everything. He didn't win any leagues, but, what's just as important, he didn't lose any leagues either.

Some other guys that didn't make the list, but I actually wouldn't have minded on my team last year: Kelly Johnson, Freddy, Pedroia, Wigginton, the Kaz. Then for extended periods of times, Orlando Hudson, Weeks, DeRosa and Brendan Harris definitely helped teams. None of these guys hurt your team to the point you couldn't capture a title. Going into the season last year, lots of experts were saying that 2nd base might be the weakest position ever. Turned out to be a lot of hot air. Not only was 2nd base not all that weak, but you found some very good value in later rounds.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Top 10 1st Basemen 2007

1. Prince Fielder
For lack of a better word, his season was: FAT. .288/109/50/119/2
The most surprising number there is the 2 steals. Was fielder's indifference not scored properly? Love to hear from readers if they witnessed either of Prince's steals. Anywho, the ladies love the long ball, so, by contractual obligation, they love Prince.

2. .282/99/46/121/1
You wanted this to be Ryan Howard, you were assuming it would be at the very least Pujols. But surprise, surprise, it's Carlos Pena. .282/99/46/121/1 were numbers you would had been very pleased with at the beginning of the season from your first round Pujols or Howard selection. From a guy you picked off of waivers? Depending on when you swiped him, you probably finished no worse than third in your league. This is the kind of player that wins leagues. You waste no draft choice and (Frank Voila!) you have 46 homers and 121 RBIs. Nice.

3. Ryan Howard
Eh, you got what you paid for. That is, if you had patience during his DL stint. Where you probably had to take him (1st round), he didn't win or lose leagues. Sure, it would've been nice to get an extra ten home runs. Okay, .268 was a bit low, but you had to expect that with the way he strikes out and his lucky BABIP in '06.

4. Albert Pujols
Isn't he good for 130 runs? Wait, wasn't this the year he was going to hit 50 homers? Barely cracking 100 RBIs? Pretty disappointing year from what was arguably the consensus 1st pick of every draft. Maybe he was trying to do too much and will be better next year? Maybe LaRussa will bat him eighth next year and the pitcher third? Maybe next year he'll admit to really being 38 years old and this year will all make sense?

5. Lance Berkman
He came on strong towards the tail end of the season, but, wow, he was bad most of the year. Like Britney at the VMAs bad? No, like Britney as a mother bad.

6. Mark Teixeira
At some point you have to think his '05 year might be his peak. The trade to the Braves didn't seem to adversely effect (BTW, is it effect or affect here? Someone let me know, thanks.) his numbers, but this is the second year in a row that his entire first half of the year DID adversely a(e)ffect his numbers. These numbers are great from someone taken in the twelfth round. He went on average in the 3rd. And his last name is impossible to spell. Why is there an i before the x? Moving on...

7. Adrian Gonzalez
Here most people got value. Sure, he barely got over .280 thanks in part to a great start and great finish. And, you're right, 100/30/100 seemed to be his floor not ceiling. But at least you got those numbers and he shouldn't have came at a huge price. You didn't take him in the fourth round, didja? You did? Well, shame on you.

8. Carlos Guillen
With 8 games played at 1st in '06, you probably didn't draft him to be your first baseman. Frankly, you might have only drafted him as your middle with his injury history. But with power numbers down across the board, Guillen could have been moved to 1st in the middle of the year and you wouldn't have lost much.

9. Derrek Lee
What a bust. He helped for part of the year with his inflated average, but that came down to earth in the 2nd half of the year and you were left with Lyle Overbay numbers. If you passed picking up Pena because you had this guy manning 1st, you probably lost your league. How does a guy batting third for a division winning team finish with 82 RBIs? Oh, that's right, Soriano's OBP.

10. Victor Martinez
You drafted him as your catcher, so I gotta say this was a tremendous year. Everything you could've wanted. Frankly, his numbers look better than Derrek Lee. (The 6 steals are what barely puts Lee above.)

And, by the way, there were first basemen that were worse. Busts: Morneau, Delgado, Konerko, Hafner (depending on your eligibility requirements). Overall, a down year from 1st. A usually dependable position that solidifies the offense and bulks the power numbers saw a league-wide power shortage that really hurt 1st.